Mark I. West is a Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he teaches courses on children’s and young adult literature. He also holds the title of Bonnie E. Cone Professor in Civic Engagement. He has written or edited sixteen books, the most recent of which is Shapers of American Childhood: Essays on Visionaries from L. Frank Baum to Dr. Spock to J. K. Rowling, which he co-edited with Kathy Merlock Jackson. His articles have appeared in various national publications, such as the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Americana, and British Heritage, as well as many academic journals. Before entering academia, he worked as an early childhood educator and professional puppeteer.